Navigating the Tech Industry as a Minority-Owned Business

By
Anne Woappi –  CTO
Elise Woappi – CEO


 

There are many hurdles to overcome as a startup founder. Hurdles such as financing your business, acquiring users/customers, marketing your company for the world to know of, expanding your resources to sustain operations all while balancing your mental and emotional health. These challenges are proven to be difficult regardless of who the founder is; yet the degree of difficulty varies based on who the founder is. A men-led startup will face different obstacles than a women-led one. A minority-owned startup will face different obstacles than a white-owned one. The challenges are can be subtle and sometimes outright dominant.

Being black women in tech means knowing that when we walk into a room, the bias may be apparent in how we’re treated, criticized, examined, and sometimes rated. The opportunities for business growth that are presented to us are sometimes limited in comparison to our male counterparts. It certainly means that we often have to and are expected to work twice as hard to get the same outcome as our white counterparts. It is important to differentiate between being a woman in tech vs. a man, and a black woman in tech vs. a woman because in order for the tech industry to truly be innovative and inclusive, we must first acknowledge that there is a racial and gender disparity that cannot be overlooked. This racial and gender disparity masks itself in many ways, often making it challenging for those fighting for an equal world to make a lot of progress.

How racial and gender disparity are present in the tech industry – our observations as black women:

  • A funding source is open for minorities. Of the applicants: the majority are black-identifying, some are brown-identifying, and a select few are of East Asian descent. Of those selected to receive the funds, less than 1% are black. As black women, this is troubling as we struggle to understand why the funds were disproportionately allocated.
  • An event is created as a means to form an opportunity for diverse conversations and networking for entrepreneurs. The event hosts and organizers put more effort targeting non-marginalized groups and/or specific genders or career paths. This form of advertising and marketing limits the selection pool for the attendees and sponsors of the event.
  • A co-working/networking community is developed to bring networking and diverse resources to gender-specific or racial-specific founders. The cost of entry is abnormally high, the selected applicants are not diverse in experience, race, socioeconomic status, and/or physical stability.

How we navigate the industry:

  1. We lean on each other. The struggles and challenges that we face, we face together. We pull from our own experiences, knowledge, and guidance to lead our business as a cohesive team.
  2. We apply, apply, apply. No matter what our fears or setbacks may be, we always make sure to submit applications for opportunities that target our demographic as founders. We apply to accelerators, incubators, conferences, summits, panels, retreats, and other funding or networking sources whenever we fit their target applicant demographic.
  3. When we’re able to, we attend and participate in all startup discussions regardless of the target demographic. The resources shared in the world are meant to be consumed by all! We refuse to limit ourselves when our vision is so grand.
  4. We maintain a positive, self-reliant, and hardworking attitude. For every application we submit, every event we attend, every grant we apply to, 100% effort is always given or executed. Our best may not be the best out of all applicants combined, but it is our best and we’re content with that.

A few resources/communities we utilize:

Never let the obstacles and naysayers change your course of action. Remain secure and confident in your approach to lead your company. You are not the first to have faced discrimination, bigotry, sexism, etc…and you most likely won’t be the last, but it’s important to always be THE person who rises above the hate and carries on.

Changing the Web Industry with Artificial Intelligence

We had a vision to make web development easily available, understandable, and usable to everyone in the world regardless of their technology skills or awareness. The world of technology is rapidly expanding, and with that expansion comes a great sense of confusion, uncertainty, and expenditure. But just because technology is expanding fast, it does not mean that people should be left behind – we should all be a part of the progress and we should all feel that we have a say, an understanding, and even some contribution to what’s happening. These past few months, the Tchuento team worked tirelessly as we set out to develop a software that would elevate the discrimination and hurdles individuals face daily while navigating the world of technology.

We thought, what if we could create a software that anyone (and we mean anyone) could use to build their own website, manage their social media accounts, and monitor all of their online activity without needing to do anything but register? We didn’t want to create just another website builder, just another social media marketing tracker, just another google analytics platform. We set out to create THE software – one that would allow people with disabilities, elders struggling with employment due to ageism in the professional sector, and underrepresented populations lacking appropriate resources an opportunity to take back control of their online presence. With Tchuento, you’ll now be able to build and update your website in a matter of seconds by simply clicking on a button. You’ll be able to create, update, link, navigate, and manage all of your social media content without having to log in constantly to manually input your data. You’ll be able to see how frequently you appear in web searches, when/how your data is being shared or distributed, monitor which websites are currently tracking your data, and access any online accounts that you’re currently registered with. Our software is so intelligent that it’ll remind itself to make updates, fix any online errors on your behalf, and send you weekly breakdowns of your online activity, and it will also track your full online activity 24/7.

We know this is a lot to take in and you might be wondering what about your privacy? We’d like you to know that although our A.I. is very intuitive and intelligent, we have a team of diverse experts that will monitor the software constantly to ensure that no implicit bias or confusion impact our platform. You can opt out of any features at your will, cancel your account whenever you want, and we will not sell your data to third parties. Our team and our software will work collaboratively, not one without the other. This is to ensure that human eyes, intuition, and knowledge are still prevalent.

We’re launching in March 2019 and are accepting pre-registered users – why not give us a try? Sign Up HERE or register here.

We’re just changing the world. We hope you join.